This year has been a much different story.
Jon Singleton drove in three runs, and the Astros handled Darvish again in an 8-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night to stretch the streak against their in-state rival to seven victories in a row.
Darvish (10-7) allowed nine hits and six runs - five earned - in four-plus innings in his second-shortest start of the season. It was his second straight tough outing against the Astros after they tagged him for a season-high 10 hits with six runs in six innings on July 9.
''Our hitting coach (John Mallee), he's done a tremendous job with getting these guys information on how we can make adjustments after a guy had success against us,'' manager Bo Porter said. ''And to the credit of our players, they've taken that information and they've done a good job against arguably one of the best pitchers in our league.''
Texas manager Ron Washington said the reason why Darvish struggled was simple.
''Just didn't have any command of his fastball and couldn't find another pitch he could go to until he went back to that fastball,'' Washington said. ''Just didn't get comfortable on the mound tonight, had no rhythm. Just wasn't his night.''
Singleton had an RBI single in Houston's two-run first and added a two-run double as the Astros tacked on four runs in the fifth.
Houston's Scott Feldman (6-8) allowed eight hits and three runs with six strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings.
He held the Rangers scoreless until Jim Adduci hit his first major league home run with two outs in the sixth inning. The two-run shot landed in the first row in right field to cut the lead to 6-2. Shin-Soo Choo had four hits, and his single in the ninth inning was the 1,000th hit of his career.
Matt Dominguez's RBI single after Singleton's double chased Darvish in the fifth. He was replaced by Nate Adcock, who was greeted by a run-scoring single by Marwin Gonzalez.
Darvish struggled with control early and walked two of the first three batters he faced, with the second walk coming on four pitches. He struck out Marc Krauss before Singleton's RBI single made it 1-0. Dominguez followed with a single, and an error on the play by second baseman Rougned Odor allowed Chris Carter to score and push the lead to 2-0.
''We were relentless,'' Singleton said. ''We made him throw a lot of pitches, and when he did make mistakes we capitalized on them.''
Carter, who had three homers in the previous two games, continued his hot-hitting with two hits, including an RBI double in the eighth inning.
Houston rookie Mike Foltynewicz pitched a scoreless ninth and wowed the crowd when he threw two consecutive 100 mph fastballs to Odor.
THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM
Texas rookie pitcher Phil Klein struggled in his first two major league outings, giving up homers to the first batter he faced in both. In his third appearance on Saturday night he finally got on track, pitching a perfect seventh inning with one strikeout.
Rangers: OF Mike Carp left in the middle of the third inning with tightness in his left groin and is listed as day to day.
OF Alex Rios took a second straight game off after he re-aggravated a sprained right ankle on Wednesday. Manager Ron Washington said Rios will start on Sunday.
LHP Derek Holland (left knee surgery) struck out four in three scoreless innings in his third rehabilitation start at Double-A Frisco on Saturday night. Holland hasn't played in the majors this season.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve was out of the lineup Saturday after leaving Friday night's game with discomfort in his neck. Altuve said that he is OK and that he expects to play on Sunday.
CF Dexter Fowler (back) made his second start of a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday night. Manager Bo Porter said he expects Fowler to be activated next week, barring a setback.
OF Alex Presley (strained right side) took batting practice on the field on Saturday for the first time since being put on the disabled list on July 8. ''For the most part I was pleased,'' Presley said after batting practice. ''Just a little stiff, but besides that nothing too major.''
Texas right-hander Nick Martinez looks to snap a seven-game skid when he opposes Dallas Keuchel. Martinez, who hasn't won since May 24, has gone 0-3 with a 7.29 ERA in his four starts since returning from the disabled list.
Keuchel has allowed one earned run or fewer in each of his last three starts.
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- Houston Astros
- Texas Rangers
- Yu Darvish
- Jon Singleton